Lisa Issenberg creates X Games medals … By Suzanne Cheavens/The Watch


The Aspen X Games kick off today at Buttermilk, the 19th year that the world’s legends and rising stars of skiing and snowboarding (and snowmobiling, too) gather in a celebration of youth culture and extreme on-mountain feats. For the top athletes who make the podium, they will receive a medal as unique and fresh as the event itself — a hand crafted work of art created by Ridgway’s Lisa Issenberg.

Formed in 2012, Issenberg’s design studio is called Kiitella (Finnish for thank, praise, and applaud). An artist with a vast resume that includes everything from jewelry to large-scale architectural installations, Issenberg found her niche as an award-maker and it began in Telluride with Mountainfilm.

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Photos From the 2020 Dakar Rally ~ The Atlantic

Leaving from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on January 5, a group of 560 competitors began the 42nd annual Dakar Rally: a 12-day, 4,660-mile (7,500-kilometer) off-roading adventure held entirely in Saudi Arabia this year. The race used to be held in Africa, until 2008, when unrest in Mauritania forced organizers to move to South America, where it was hosted until this year. The vehicles—which include specialized cars, trucks, motorcycles, and quad bikes—are currently on stage 10 of 12 stages that lead to Qiddiya, in Riyadh, on January 17. Here is a look at Dakar 2020 in progress, as teams race to the finish line.


Monster Energy Honda Team 2020’s Kevin Benavides of Argentina rides his Honda CRF 450 Rally motorbike between Al Wajh and Neom, Saudi Arabia, on January 6, 2020.



A biker rides through the desert during stage 6



An overview of the landscape during stage 9 of the 2020 Dakar Rally, between Wadi Al Dawasir and Haradh, on January 14, 2020


A trail of dust from a race car is seen during stage 2, between Al Wajh and Neom, Saudi Arabia, on January 6, 2020.

John Evans ~ January 9, 2020 ~ A positive Life Force

Included a favorite shot (not my photo) of John and his wife Loie floating Desolation canyon in 1971. It is so much John . . . Powering the Sport Yak through the rough water .  Matt Wells


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Jeff Lowe photo

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full moon (this morning) ~

symbol of Buddha nature

in all inherent beings


Jerry and friends,

I had not heard about John passing until Thursday night.
I always think about John this time of year.  A few days ago was the 52nd anniversary of the day that he and Barry Corbet made the first ascent of Mount Tyree in Antarctica.  (This followed the first ascent of Vinson in December ’66).  Few can appreciate what a big deal climbing Tyree in 1967 was.  To this day there have only a handful of ascents.  And then there was the Hummingbird Ridge on Logan!  Everest International Expedition 1971, Nanda Devi and the Pamirs climbing exchange both of which Peter was a part of I think. 
John’s positive attitude, humility stay with me. 
Best to you all.  
Wally Berg

A recent and distant memory of Jorge

Drew Hardesty was a friend of Jorge’s in the Tetons … they would meet for early morning Zazen.  He’s a climbing ranger with the park and roams the winter Wasatch hunting avalanches as a Utah Avalanche Center forecaster.  He also enjoys and studies the Haiku form.

Drew captured ‘el espiritu de los tiempos with his remembrance of Jorge. Thank you.




I Am That

Back when I started working as a climbing ranger in the Tetons, I would spend mornings in meditation on the west porch of the rescue cache with retired ranger Tom Kimbrough and longtime Exum mountain guide George Gardner. The three of us would sit in silence those early mornings and just occasionally share a word or two. We’d look over the broad expanse of Lupine Meadows to the eastern rampart of Teewinot, and when the wind was right, we could hear the cascade of Broken Falls on her lower flank. It was common to have pronghorn, elk, or an occasional moose or black bear wander across the meadow. Sandhill cranes would call to one another from the privacy of Cottonwood Creek.

Tom had long been a mentor of mine both in the avalanche community as well as the mountain rescue world. I didn’t know George as well, but we had a quiet, amiable relationship. He was twenty years my senior with a young son who would spend the summers with him, often working as rugrat for Jenny Lake Boating. JLB opened their arms wide to all the “orphaned” sons and daughters of the rangers and guides, and George’s son Michael was no different. George and I would often show in the mornings to the west porch of the rescue cache wearing the same striped wool beanie with a tassel, the style typically favored by Nordic skiers. Ours were merlot in color with two horizontal stripes matched with that tassel. One morning George brought over to the porch – I Am That, by Sri Nasargadatta Majaraj. I learned later that it was the book on interconnectedness and non-dualism. (Nondualism primarily refers to a mature state of consciousness, in which the dichotomy of I-other is “transcended”, and awareness is described as “centerless” and “without dichotomies”).   George was fond of saying, “Same, same.”

One of my favorite memories was climbing the Petzoldt Ridge on the Grand with George. I had climbed it a few times before and was surprised that he had never been up the route. Along the way, we talked of how Exum guides often see people at their best while Jenny Lake climbing rangers often see people at their worst. There is a great deal of shared emotion that sometimes doesn’t make its way to the surface for years.

In this way, one of the most challenging parts of the climbing ranger job was to occasionally conduct a body recovery. It is a rare season where no one perishes in the Teton range. One of the mechanisms to shield ourselves from emotional pain was to look away from the face of the deceased and to create some sort of personal separation from her or him. Over time, I moved past this technique and to instead slow down and look intently at the person, sometimes even talking quietly to them. What I came to understand is that by doing so I realized that I could just as easily be looking at myself as someone who could have made the same mistake. For me, this always brought about a certain compassion and humility.

In the aftermath of an accident, many people want to know what poor decisions were made in order to fit the narrative that the people were “in over their heads”, or “taking too many risks”. All of this to cast judgment and separation in order to think, I would never have made that mistake. It’s an effective defense mechanism, but ultimately an illusion. Most often, I would attribute the accident to bad luck – rockfall, a slip on wet lichen, momentary inattention to the task at hand.

And so when fellow rangers Renny Jackson, Helen Motter, Marty Vidak and I were called in to find and extract George’s lifeless body in the Wall Street Gulley, our hearts were broken as we worked to bring George back to his family in Lupine Meadows. George had fallen while soloing the Direct Exum route on the Grand, a route he had done so many times, we all knew he could do it in his sleep.

The next day, three of us went up to climb the Direct Exum, a route we too had climbed many times before. On the broad second ledge, I looked over and saw a merlot-colored Nordic hat. My first thought was, ‘how did my hat…’. I reached for my head, and realized that I was wearing mine. The hat on the ledge, of course, was George’s.

Same, same.

Two winters later, I was briefly caught and carried in a very large avalanche in Yellowjacket Gulch in the Wasatch Range, a range where I work as an avalanche forecaster. I was spared, but lost my sunglasses and a Nordic beanie, merlot in color.

I Am That

A rogue artist ate the $120,000 duct-taped banana at Art Basel. ‘It’s performance,’ he said. ~ NYT

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As people watched, a prankster removed the banana, which was taped to a wall at Art Basel in Miami Beach.

Credit…Eva Uzcategui/Reuters

In plain sight of art aficionados and influencers, a prankster removed a $120,000 banana from an Art Basel exhibition in Miami Beach on Saturday, peeled it and then ate it.

It happened on the second-to-last day of the art show, where much fuss and head scratching this week has been over a solitary banana — an overripe one — duct-taped to a wall.

Three buyers paid between $120,000 and $150,000 this week for limited-edition pieces featuring a single banana, created by the artist Maurizio Cattelan and titled “Comedian.” Each came with a certificate of authenticity and replacement instructions, which perhaps should have included a disclaimer: for display only.

Shortly before 2 p.m. on Saturday, a New York City-based performance artist, David Datuna, peeled the taped banana from the wall and devoured it, an Instagram video posted by Mr. Datuna showed.

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Without Chile’s volunteer medics ‘protesters would bleed out’ ~ Al Jazeera

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Santiago, Chile – A young man sits on a camp bed staring disoriented at the ground. Nurses attend to a pellet wound in his calf from where a single line of blood runs down.

A group of young people, their heads shielded by white and blue helmets, rush past carrying another young man on a stretcher. A helicopter flies above in air that is choked with tear gas, as firearms rattle in the distance.

Not far is Santiago’s Plaza Italia, the beating heart of Chile’s demonstrations, and now the centre of an increasingly violent conflict between police and protesters.

The wounded are being tended to in a makeshift medical site surrounded by artisanal stalls, all shut except for one selling keyrings and patterned bags – in the distant hope that a tourist might pass by and they could make a sale.

But tourists are unlikely as violent protests in the capital over growing inequality and the government crackdown on demonstrators continue.

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Volunteer medical personnel hold a shield during a protest against Chile’s government in Santiago, Chile [Edgard Garrido/Reuters]


The protests erupted a month ago, initially as a student action against a metro fare hike. They have since mushroomed into widespread demonstrations across the country over the country’s economic model, as well as the government crackdown against the protesters.

At least 23 people have died, including five killed by police and military forces during the now-lifted state of emergency last month. Thousands more have been wounded – more than 220 of whom have been blinded or partially blinded by pellets or other projectiles.

On the front line, protesters are in a deadlock with police who confront them with tear gas and water cannon, and shoot firearms, while protesters fight back by throwing stones or setting up barricades.

And in their middle is a group of volunteers, all medically trained – some professionals, other students – who call themselves “the Brigada”. Similar self-organised groups are working across the country.

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi: Trump Undermined Our National Security, To The Benefit Of The Russians ~ COBERT

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi explains to Stephen Colbert what the impeachment inquiry is really all about: patriotism and upholding the Constitution of the United States of America.


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~~~  WATCH  ~~~